Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Harav Alter Chanoch Henoch HaCohen Leibowitz, zt"l

(Many Thanks To A Reader For The Picture.)

Rosh Yeshivas Chofetz Chaim Passes away at the age of 91. Here's what I know so far: He was born near Kovno in 1916 to his father Harav Dovid Leibowitz, who later was a member of the Kovno Kolel. Reb Dovid was a great nephew of the Chofetz Chaim, zt"l. In 1926 RDL came to America to collect funds for the Kolel and was asked by RSFM to stay here and accept the position of Rosh Yeshiva of the newly-founded Mesivta Torah VoDaas. Much of RDL's history was mentioned in this post. I haven't heard a date when RDL brought his family to America, he didn't have them with them in 1926, and I wouldn't be surprised if they stayed in Kovno for a while longer. I know that RDL passed away at a young age in 1941, and that RHL, in his mid-20s became the Rosh Yeshiva of Yeshivas Rabbeinu Yisroel Meir HaCohen, the Yeshivah his father had founded 7 years prior. RHL himself married Pesha, the daughter of Rav Avrohom Trop, son of Reb Naftoli, z"l.

I'll go out on a limb here and say that Chofetz Chaim is the black sheep of the Yeshivisher Velt, even if you thought Chaim Berlin was. Reb Henoch didn't seem to be affected by the whole Eretz Yisroel/Brisk revolution among the rest Yeshivisher Velt. I don't recall seeing his name on various Kol Korehs, nor do I think he was on Moetzes. No six-inch wide Brisker Peyos, neither. His Talmidim are what you call American. Some wear ties during the week, just like many others did through the 60s; Chofetz Chaim saw no reason to change, even if the others did. Reb Henoch built a large network of schools and Yeshivos; he saw it as his goal to build yiddishkeit in America, and he did that to his last days. Chofetz Chaim today is a movement, if not a lifestyle; they wear their Chofetz Chaim pride on their sleeves, thanks to RHL. His Talmidim had a unending amount of love and respect for him, even decades after leaving yeshiva. He leaves behind thousands of talmidim who grieve for his loss.


schneur said...

In many ways, CC is to the yeshiva world what Chabad is to the Chassidic world. In addition they are very much into kiruv and out of NYC work.
However the Rosh Yeshiva (childless)appointed successors during his lifetime to make sure the "gescheft" continues "kediboei".
Zecher zadik Livroche !

Anonymous said...

A prince of a human being.

A true embodiment of mussar and menschlichkeit.

As someone who only learned there during my high school years, I can say he had a profound impact on my development. Even more so for the true "talmidim" who embraced the Chofettz Chaim" derech.

He, together with his Rebbitzen, A"H, were parents to thousands of talmidim and as such leave many spiritual descendants.

There is much to say about this unique person and the special derech he represented. Much other Yeshivas and Roshei Yeshivas could emulate.

Chaval Al Di'Avdin ...

Anonymous said...

Not so much the black sheep of the yeshiva world as to not really being part of the yeshiva world. They dont really mix with the yeshiva world they dont go to brisk the mir or lkwd. They live in their own system much like chabad before mashiach and the rest of the chassidshe world.

An Ailmesher said...

What was his attitude toward Lubavitch?

Anonymous said...

As a movement CC is very anti-chabad.
In my experience, more than other litvish joints.

schneur said...

I doubt their anti Chabad attitudes stem from either the personality of the Rosh yeshiva (whom I admit I never met) or from the Slobodka attiutdes they claimes to represent. Its wrong to imply that CC was or saw itself as a continuation of Radin and the Chofetz Chaim, rather they prided themselves on being the continuation of Slobodka.They even went down to Baltimore years ago to meet rav Ruderman and clarify the Slobodka derech with him.
I think their anti chabad attitudes stem from 2 factors.
A. Competition in the field of Outreach and BT work in many of the cities outside of NYC like California and New haven, CT (where CC folded).
B. CC people are the straightest of the straight always well dressed, most lack a sense of humor, they are well educated soldiers. Chabad people are hardly that straight and some are willing to try the "other way". The Russian element has a fine sense of humor and are sceptics and cynics.
Given the fact that the pros in both groups contain a large number of BT's its not suprising that the different kinds of BTS ( text oriented straight arrows vs. spiritual emotional oriented former spiritual seekers) do not care for each other.
CC also used to recruit among YU students and had recruiters on the YU campus looking for candidates and they found takers.

snag1 said...

As a poster (Benny) on a recent YTV thread alluded to, it seems that there was a falling out between R. Dovid zt"l and Rayatz at one time. It may have been due to the differences expressed re learning shor shenogach es haporoh.

With the last Rebbe, Ramash, there presumably were other issues as well, as were evident with others in the Litvishe velt as well, like Maran Harav Schach ����.

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